Chapter 10

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  • Bridgestone began receiving complaints about their Firestone tires treads' tendency to separate, often resulting in horrific accidents, starting in 1998.But they refused to admit that there was a real problem until 2000, when the NHTSA launched a large-scale investigation. After much waffling in the press, Bridgestone finally accepted blame, and on August 9, 2000, they announced the recall of 6.5 million tires -- the second-largest recall in U.S. history.According to CBS News, the NHTSA eventually announced that nearly 200 deaths and more than 700 injuries had been caused by the faulty tires.Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-biggest-corporate-pr-disasters-of-the-decade-2009-12#bridgestone-tire-debacle-2000-1#ixzz16iZAIa4c
  • Can you put a positive spin on smoking deaths? Philip Morris thought so, when they released the results of a study conducted in the Czech Republic proving that smokers' deaths had "positive effects" financially for the Czech government.According to CNN, the tobacco giant conducted the study in response to the Czech government's argument that the financial costs of smoking outweighed its benefits. Not so, said Philip Morris: smoking actually resulted in a net gain of around $147 million, including saving "between 943 million and 1.2 billion korunas (about $24 million-to-$30 million) in health-care, pension and public-housing costs due to the early deaths of smokers."The company, of course, faced a huge public backlash as a result of the release, which was intended to create positive PR for an already-struggling industry. CBS News reports that it also subsequently canceled its plans for similar studies in other countries.Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-biggest-corporate-pr-disasters-of-the-decade-2009-12#philip-morris-says-smoking-deaths-have-positive-effects-2001-2#ixzz16iZayeXU
  • In April 2002, Abercrombie & Fitch released a line of t-shirts depicting caricatures of Asian stereotypes. Corporate commentary? "We personally thought Asians would love this T-shirt." (10News)A month later, the company introduced racy thong underwear in childrens' sizes, aimed at girls aged 10 to 14. Corporate commentary? "The underwear for young girls was created with the intent to be lighthearted and cute." (Direct Mag)Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-biggest-corporate-pr-disasters-of-the-decade-2009-12#thongs-for-little-girls-and-racist-t-shirts-double-bad-move-af-2002-3#ixzz16icwDdys
  • Get rich by "buying stolen properties, pimpin hoes, building crack houses and getting car jacked!"“You got yo whole neighborhood addicted to crack. Collect $50.” Score!With lines like that, how could Urban Outfitters have predicted that people would be offended by it selling and promoting "Ghettopoly"?
  • Even though preliminary studies in 2000 had suggested that painkiller Vioxx posed a potential heart health risk, executives at pharmaceutical giant Merck chose not to pursue those studies further.Four years later, Merck was forced to recall that very drug because of evidence that it may have caused heart attacks and cardiac deaths in thousands of its users. The recall turned into a massive scandal as reports came out that Merck had known about the serious risk, yet continued to promote the drug anyways.The company faced an SEC investigation and hundreds of lawsuits as a result of its actions. The scandal was finally laid to rest in 2009, according to the Wall Street Journal, when Merck settled litigation for $80 million.
  • Most of us, when presented with a book proposal about how a man would have killed his wife, would probably realize that it might be a bad idea to publish it. Take into account the fact that the author's name is O.J. Simpson, and change that "probably" to a "definitely."HarperCollins publisher Judith Regan did not have such a response. Neither did Fox News, who decided to schedule a two-part interview with Simpson about the same subject.Oh yeah, and both companies are owned by Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp.Facing scathing condemnation from the public, Murdoch quickly fired Regan and cancelled both endeavors, saying, “I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project," according to the New York Times.
  • Cartoon Network's guerilla advertising campaign to promote their offbeat show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" could have been cool -- had the company not chosen devices that made people think they were bombs.According to the Boston Globe, CN's campaign involved 38 magnetic, light-up signs placed around the city in random public places, such as this one under a bridge. Unfortunately, the mysterious signs lacked any explanation, causing many locals to believe they were dangerous and a threat.Police were inundated by phone calls, bomb squads were deployed, and parts of the subway system were shut down for a period of time. The head of Cartoon Network eventually resigned after taking blame for approving the stunt, and the two men who were deemed physically responsible for putting up the devices faced criminal charges for the hoax.
  • What would you do with $85 billion in government rescue money? Host a corporate retreat at the posh St. Regis resort in California, of course.One week after receiving a massive federal bailout, AIG did exactly that, with a retreat that supposedly cost $434,343.71.Not surprisingly, the public and lawmakers were quite upset. The company's actions prompted an admonishment from the White House, who called it "despicable," and widespread re-vamping of corporate retreat policies.
  • In early 2007, nine JetBlue flights at JFK airport were delayed for up to 11 hours because of serious inclement weather. Normally, this wouldn't have resulted in much more than a few really irritated travelers, but in this case, JetBlue decided to keep its nearly 1,000 passengers trapped in the runway-bound planes for the entire time.According to CBS News, passengers described the experience as "horrific." As snacks depleted and the bathroom situation grew unpleasant, people on the planes grew more and more upset that they were not being allowed to de-plane and just walk to the terminal, which was within sight. They were only permitted to leave the aircrafts when official airport vehicles finally arrived to transport them.JetBlue at first defended it's decision, arguing that its passengers' safety in the ice storm was top priority, but the incident sparked government debate about passengers' rights. According to Consumer Affairs, a week later, JetBlue announced its own "Passengers' Bill of Rights," which detailed different levels of compensation for varying types of delays, as well as a promise to de-plane passengers after five hours' delay in the future.
  • You'd think if you were heading to Washington to beg for a $25 billion bailout, you would be smarter than to show up in an expensive private jet.Unfortunately, the CEOs of GM, Chrysler, and Ford  made that very mistake in November 2008. At a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee, CNN reported: "Rep. Brad Sherman, D-California, pressed the private-jet issue, asking the three CEOs to 'raise their hand if they flew here commercial.'"Of course, none of them had, prompting ridicule from the public and press. The three execs learned their lesson, choosing to drive hybrid cars to their next hearing in the hopes of staving off more bad press.
  • Even the government (especially the government) makes a really bad PR move now and again.Imagine you're a New Yorker, in a post-9/11 world. You're working downtown, when all of a sudden you see a plane flying unusually low over the city, pursued by a fighter jet. What would you assume?This thought never crossed the minds of those down at the Department of Defense, who organized this Air Force One photo-op without notifying anyone in New York City. Unfortunately, the event resulted in widespread panic throughout lower Manhattan, with many people evacuating their offices and reporting the incident to police.According to ABC News, President Obama was "furious" that no one had been informed, while Mayor Bloomberg was quoted as saying, "Poor judgment would have been a nice way to put it."The official responsible for the mistake resigned.
  • Chapter 10

    1. 1. lcome to the world ofurnalism, whereporters have beengging dirt, raking muck,king headlines andadlines for centuriesw. It’s a history full ofbloid trash, of slimynsationalists, ofrunkards, deadbeats andmmers” (as a Harvardiversity president oncescribed reporters).But it’s a history full ofroes, too: men andmen risking their livestell stories of war andagedy, riskingprisonment to defendee speech. And as youn see here, reports havecome beloved charactersp culture, too, turning upmovies, comics and TVows as if guided by ancult hand.Every culture seekseffective ways to spreadnew information and gossip.In ancient times, news waswritten on clay tablets. InCaesar’s age, Romans readnewsletters compiled bycorrespondents andhandwritten by slaves.Wandering minstrels spreadnews (and the plague) in theMiddle Ages. Them cameink on paper. Voices onairwaves. Newsreels, Websites, And 24-hour cablenews networks.Thus when scholarsanalyze the rich history ofjournalism, some view it interms of technologicalprogress—for example, thedramatic impact of bigger,faster printing presses.Others see journalism asa specialized form literaryexpression, one that’sconstantly evolving,reflecting and shaping itsculture.Others see it as aninspiring quest for freespeech, an endless powerstruggle between Authority(trying to controlinformation) and the People(trying to learn the truth).Which brings to mind thewords of A.J. Liefling:“Freedom of the press isguaranteed only to htosewho own one.”In the pages ahead, we’lltake a quick tour of 600years of journalism history,from hieroglyphics tohypertext: the media, themessage and the politics.Technical advances andbrilliant ideas forged a newstyle of journalism. It was acentury of change, andnewspapers changeddramatically. The typinewspaper of 1800 waundisciplined mishmalegislative proceedinglong-winded essays asecondhand gossip. B1900, a new breed oftor had emerged. Jourhad become big businReporting was becomdisciplined craft. Andnewspapers were becmore entertaining andessential than ever, wmost of the features wexpect today: Snappyheadlines, Ads, ComicSports pages. And an“inverted pyramid” stywriting that made storitighter and newsier.Radio and televisionbrought an end tonewspapers’ mediamonopoly. Why? Wellyourself: Which did yoPublic relationsInside ReportingTim Harrower10
    2. 2. Public relations3What is public relations?Planning a public relations strategyWriting news releasesBalance and bias and media manipulations
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    14. 14. What is public relations?15 Businesses andorganizations must: Get their message out. Encourage media coverage. Project positivepublic image.Every organization has a story to tell.PR professionals tell it.
    15. 15. What is public relations?16 Identify the goal Craft the message Monitor the resultsThe PR process
    16. 16. What is public relations?17Common myths PR is glamorous. PR is a business. PR is easy. PR is as rigorous as newsreporting. PR is sleazy. PR is useful, even vital.What public relations is NOT
    17. 17. What is public relations?18 Writing news releases. Organizing newsconferences. Coordinating crisiscommunications.What public relations is… Crafting anorganization’s publicimage. Planning the launch ofnew products andservices.
    18. 18. What is public relations?19 Producing newslettersand media foremployees. Sponsoring tours,exhibitions and specialevents.What public relations is… Attending conferencesand deliveringspeeches. Acting as theorganization’sspokesperson.
    19. 19. What is public relations?20How Public Relations Differsfrom JournalismServes general public Serves organizationsAvoids taking sides Promotes clientsControls all information Provides informationDepends upon PR Depends upon journalistUses one form of media Employs range of mediaIndividualistic Team playerGoal: inform the public Goal: generate goodwillJournalist PR Specialist
    20. 20. What is public relations?21How Public Relations Differsfrom AdvertisingTries to seduce Tries to motivate with factControls the message Provides informationFlashy with exaggeration Low-key and seriousExpensive Relatively inexpensiveRelies on repetition Efforts are freshBroad audience Aimed at specific audiencePeople try to avoid ads People seek out storiesAdvertising Public Relations
    21. 21. PR Disasters22
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    32. 32. Planning a public relationsstrategy33Four steps to creatingand implementing a PRplanWithout a strategy, you can’t achieve your goals• Analyze situation• Plan strategy• Implement plan• Evaluate results
    33. 33. Planning a public relationsstrategy34 The news release At least half the content of newspapersoriginates from news releases (someestimates as much as 70 percent) Video news release (for television andweb)Matching your message to the most effectivemedium
    34. 34. Planning a public relationsstrategy35 Other interactive PRoptions Speeches News conferences Special events Exhibits LobbyingMatching your message…The media kitPromotional materialDesigned to makereporters say, “This willmake a good story.”
    35. 35. Writing news releases36 Newsworthy information Clear presentation Requires personal relationshipswith reporters and editorsNews releases (sometimes called pressreleases) provide ideas and information thatbecome news
    36. 36. Writing news releases37 Use an engagingheadline. Give it a compellinglead. Avoid distortion. Avoid jargon. Use proper AP stylestyle.Tips for writing better news releases10• Keep it crisp and tight.• Stress the benefits.• Proofread carefully.• Deliver the release atthe right time.• Deliver the release tothe right person.
    37. 37. Writing news releases38 Customize your pitch. Prepare yourself.When dealing with the media• Make demands.• Go off record.• Keep score.• Bribe reporters.• Be cagey or evasive.• Lie.DO: DON’T:
    38. 38. Balance, bias and mediamanipulations39 Be honest andaccurate in allcommunications. Act promptly tocorrect erroneouscommunications.Ethics in the practice of PR Avoid deceptivepractices. Think about howreaders can actuallybenefit from theinformation you possess.
    39. 39. Balance, bias and mediamanipulations40• Doublespeak – languagecrafted to disguise, distortor evade the truth.• Euphemisms – inoffensiveterms substituted for moredisturbing words.Spinning the news: Common terms Cherry-picking –selecting facts that supportyour argument. Glitteringgeneralities –vague-but-emotionally-appealing abstractions.
    40. 40. Balance, bias and mediamanipulations41• Bridging – transitioning aquestion to a morecomfortable topic.• Non-denial denial –criticizing the criticism.Spinning the news: Common terms• Astroturfing – creatingillusion of widespreadgrassroots support.• Managing the news –planting questions at pressconferences.
    41. 41. lcome to the world ofurnalism, whereporters have beengging dirt, raking muck,king headlines andadlines for centuriesw. It’s a history full ofbloid trash, of slimynsationalists, ofrunkards, deadbeats andmmers” (as a Harvardiversity president oncescribed reporters).But it’s a history full ofroes, too: men andmen risking their livestell stories of war andagedy, riskingprisonment to defendee speech. And as youn see here, reports havecome beloved charactersp culture, too, turning upmovies, comics and TVows as if guided by ancult hand.Every culture seekseffective ways to spreadnew information and gossip.In ancient times, news waswritten on clay tablets. InCaesar’s age, Romans readnewsletters compiled bycorrespondents andhandwritten by slaves.Wandering minstrels spreadnews (and the plague) in theMiddle Ages. Them cameink on paper. Voices onairwaves. Newsreels, Websites, And 24-hour cablenews networks.Thus when scholarsanalyze the rich history ofjournalism, some view it interms of technologicalprogress—for example, thedramatic impact of bigger,faster printing presses.Others see journalism asa specialized form literaryexpression, one that’sconstantly evolving,reflecting and shaping itsculture.Others see it as aninspiring quest for freespeech, an endless powerstruggle between Authority(trying to controlinformation) and the People(trying to learn the truth).Which brings to mind thewords of A.J. Liefling:“Freedom of the press isguaranteed only to htosewho own one.”In the pages ahead, we’lltake a quick tour of 600years of journalism history,from hieroglyphics tohypertext: the media, themessage and the politics.Technical advances andbrilliant ideas forged a newstyle of journalism. It was acentury of change, andnewspapers changeddramatically. The typinewspaper of 1800 waundisciplined mishmalegislative proceedinglong-winded essays asecondhand gossip. B1900, a new breed oftor had emerged. Jourhad become big businReporting was becomdisciplined craft. Andnewspapers were becmore entertaining andessential than ever, wmost of the features wexpect today: Snappyheadlines, Ads, ComicSports pages. And an“inverted pyramid” stywriting that made storitighter and newsier.Radio and televisionbrought an end tonewspapers’ mediamonopoly. Why? Wellyourself: Which did yoPublic relationsInside ReportingTim Harrower10

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